eMalahleni: Eskom wants R277m before Thursday

Eskom and eMalahleni Local Municipality reach a deadlock


KINGDOM MABUZA


The eMalahleni local municipality met with Eskom officials in Mbombela in the hope to finalise an arrangement we have been working on with Eskom.

The municipal manager Theo Van Vuuren expressed regret that the meeting took a different direction.

“Our proposals were rejected and a new target set by Eskom. At this stage they are requiring an amount of R277 million before Thursday as cash payment,” he said.

But Van Vuuren remains hopeful that should residents and business start to heed the call to pay for services power disruption could be averted.

“It is still possible for us to meet this (Thursday deadline) but only if those owing the municipality make a serious effort to settle their arrears.”

“Our attempts and requests for this during the past period saw a marginal improvement in arrears settlements and for the first time since 2012 the total outstanding arrears decreased. Should especially the business sector take this call to heart we will be able to achieve this target.”

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He said low payment levels have forced the municipality to resort to cutting power from those who owe.

“From today we will also accelerate cut offs as many still believe they can get away without paying. We discovered large scale illegal distribution operations during our weekend operations where people are tapping from our grid. Criminal charges will be laid.”

“In addition we will be cutting churches who owes the municipality a combined R4 million, government with still R30 m outstanding and town house complexes over the next two days.

Businesses still owe us a massive R280 m and believe that by declaring disputes they don’t have to pay. This is not helping and perhaps it’s time to publish their details.”

*Mabuza is spokesman of the eMalahleni municipality